Saint of the Day ~ April 11

SAINT STANISLAUS OF KRAKÓW (1030-1079), bishop and martyr – Patron saint of Poland and soldiers in battle

Anyone who reads the history of Eastern Europe cannot help but chance upon the name of Saint Stanislaus, the saintly but tragic bishop of Kraków and patron saint of Poland. Today, the universal Church honors him for a life devoted to Christ and his vigorous opposition to the evils of an unjust government, similar to what we find in the lives of Saint Thomas More and Saint Thomas Becket.

Born to Polish nobility in Szczepanów near Kraków on July 26, 1030, he was ordained a priest after being educated in the cathedral schools of Paris, France and Gniezno, then capital of Poland. He was appointed preacher and archdeacon to the bishop of Kraków, where his eloquence and example brought about real conversion in many of his penitents, both clergy and laity. He became bishop of Kraków in 1072.

Known for his outspokenness, Stanislaus became involved in the political situation of Poland, aiming his attacks at the evils he found in the land, especially the unjust wars and immoral acts of King Boleslaus II.

Stanislaus had opposed the king for his tyrannical ways and once confronted him boldly for his immoral behavior when Boleslaus had abducted the wife of a Polish nobleman and carried her off to his castle. Bishop Stanislaus ultimately excommunicated the king and even stopped services at the cathedral whenever the king entered.

Enraged by this, the king ordered soldiers to kill the bishop. When they refused, the king killed him with his own hands on May 8, 1079, while the bishop was celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the chapel of Saint Michael in a suburb of Kraków.

Wearing the martyr’s crown, Bishop Stanislaus was canonized a saint in 1253 by Pope Innocent IV in Assisi, Italy. Saint Stanislaus has long been a symbol of Polish nationhood.

We commemorate his feastday on April 11.

(From catholicnewsagency.com, saints.sqpn.com, americancatholic.org, catholicculture.org and newadvent.org)

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PRAYER

(The following prayer is from the Roman Breviary from the Proper for Saint Stanislaus of Kraków)

“Father, to honor You, Saint Stanislaus faced martyrdom with courage. Keep us strong and loyal in our faith until death.

“Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.”

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